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Instagram, the popular photo-sharing platform has started testing a new feature. The new feature will share user location data with Facebook, researcher Jane Munchun Wong found earlier this week.
The feature is said to be in the experimental stage and it's unclear if the Facebook-owned platform has already made up its mind to deploy the new feature on a large scale. Instagram refers to the new feature as "Facebook Location History" and describes it as a method of tracking the GPS location of a user using Facebook's tools. Currently, the new functionality has only been seen on iOS, while no Android version of the app seems to have it.
Facebook has been planning a deep integration of Instagram and WhatsApp into its platform for a long time. Both founders of WhatsApp have left the firm over security disputes, followed by Instagram co-founders, who also departed for pretty much the same reasons.
While most Instagram users are believed to have a Facebook account as well, the new functionality will allow the social media giant to track the location of Instagram users who aren't part of that demographic. The new feature is still expected to be optional, though it remains to be seen if Instagram plans to leave it on default.
Besides, Instagram has also started rolling out two new features on its app. The first feature is called nametags, are customizable graphics that act like QR codes. On scanning these nametags within the app, the users will be directed to the profile of that user.
Users will be able to customize the nametags in several ways, with them being able to change the tag's colors and add emoji or photos. Users can scan nametags from the in-app camera, or by tapping a button in the corner of the nametag view. Nametags are already available in the Instagram app.
The second feature is like a directory that sorts users depending on their college, allowing users to connect more easily with classmates. The feature could be useful helping interact and find friends on Instagram as they move to colleges.